DETROIT — Mike Napoli and Pete Kozma hit solo homers as part of a 12-hit Rangers barrage off Matthew Boyd, supporting Yu Darvish through five innings as Texas took a 5-2 win over the Josh Donaldson Women’s Jersey Tigers on Sunday in the rubber match of a three-game series at Comerica Park.
The Rangers (24-21) have won 11 of their last 12, and eight of their last nine in Detroit. The Tigers finished a 3-3 homestand against Baltimore and Texas, falling back to .500 at 21-21 before embarking on a three-city, 11-game road trip.
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“We are just playing good baseball,” Napoli said. “This is what we envisioned in Spring Training, how we wanted to play. We got off to a rough start, but we got it figured out. We need to just need to keep it rolling.”
Though eight of the Rangers’ first 15 batters had base hits off Boyd (2-4), all but one of them were singles, allowing the young left-hander to limit the damage and hang with Darvish in a 2-2 game. Napoli’s 10th homer of the season, a tape-measure shot in the fifth inning, put Texas up for good. Kozma’s first home run since 2013 padded the lead, as did Jonathan Lucroy’s RBI double in the ninth.
“He had a lot of traffic,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said of Boyd. “He was able to wiggle out of some of it, but the more guys you put on base, generally speaking, the more runs you end up giving up. And that’s basically what’s happened.”
Darvish (5-2) walked four batters in Josh Donaldson Jersey five innings but utilized a sharp slider for seven strikeouts. Ian Kinsler’s leadoff home run and Miguel Cabrera’s second-inning RBI single comprised the scoring against him.
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Party at the camera well: Napoli’s drive toward the center-field shrubs looked eerily similar to a home run he hit off Anibal Sanchez in Game 5 of the 2013 ALCS. His drive off a Boyd slider Sunday night was projected by Statcast™ at 446 feet, and hit the camera well below the fountain in center. More >
Darvish ends early threats: Though Darvish gave up single runs in the first and second innings, the Tigers had chances for much more. Detroit loaded the bases after Kinsler’s homer in the first, but Darvish escaped with a Tyler Collins flyout to right. An inning later, Darvish stranded two runners by striking out J.D. Martinez, whose red-hot hitting since his return from the disabled list last week ended in an 0-for-4, three-strikeout night. More >
“After that first inning, we had people on here and there, but we didn’t really do much against him,” Ausmus said. “He was never really in danger other than the first inning. But we had good at-bats, and as a result the pitch count went up and he was out of the game relatively early for a pitcher of his stature.”
“You throw sinkers and a ground ball finds a hole. You throw a changeup and a guy hits it off the end of the bat. Or you jam a guy and it flares down the line or whatever. Stuff happens. It’s out of your control.” — Boyd on his 12 hits over 5 1/3 innings
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Napoli’s home run had an exit velocity of 111.3 mph, making it his second-hardest hit homer in the Statcast™ era. His 463-foot home run off Minnesota’s Tyler Duffey last Sept. 9 had an exit velocity of 111.5 mph.
Kinsler’s leadoff homer was the 42nd of his career, moving him into a tie for sixth place on the all-time Major League list. He’s tied with former Tiger Curtis Granderson.
Cabrera and Rangers reliever Sam Dyson exchanged words at the end of the seventh inning, after Dyson saw Cabrera at second base signaling to batters. Ausmus called it a misunderstanding, explaining that Cabrera was telling teammates Dyson had a changeup and wasn’t stealing signs.
“I told him he was too smart,” Dyson said. “He said, ‘What did you say?’ I turned around. I might have said it twice. I wasn’t a Blue Jays Canada Day Jersey, I was telling him he was too smart. I thought he might have been [stealing] signs. He wasn’t. No worries. No issues. No complaints.”
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Rangers: Right-hander Andrew Cashner opens up Josh Donaldson Canada Day Jersey a three-game series with the Red Sox at 6:10 p.m. (CT) Tuesday at Fenway Park. Cashner will make his first career start against the Red Sox. The Rangers are 39-23 against the Red Sox since the beginning of the 2009 season.
Tigers: The Lone Star State stretch of the schedule continues Monday in Houston, where the Tigers open a four-game series against the Astros with an 8:10 p.m. ET contest at Minute Maid Park. Michael Fulmer (5-1, 2.72) takes a 3-0 record in May and a five-game unbeaten streak into his start opposite Brad Peacock. Victor Martinez is expected to return to Detroit’s lineup following three games off for paternity leave.
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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck’s Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.